Happy New Year Folks!! I know, I am a bit late to wish you the new year, but better late than never. I wish you all a very happy and beautiful year ahead. Stay healthy and stay happy.
To start this year with a sweet note, I made my favorite baked delicacy-shortcrust tarts. Tarts made with shortcrust dough are very rich, crumbly, and tender due to high proportion of fat(butter) to refined flour ratio. Butter (or any fat like margarine) is rubbed into the refined flour and brought together as dough with just a few spoons of ice cold water. This dough is used for pastries like tarts, pies and quiches.
I made my pastry dough by substituting half of the flour with oatmeal flour. Oatmeal added subtle crispy element to the tarts. I didn’t try to substitute butter for now as I wanted you to enjoy the beauty of buttery shortcrust. I baked mini tarts using silicon cupcake molds and 4″ tart pans to cut the portion size. They looked absolutely cute and were delicately sweet. The filling used is famous “Indian phirni” (rice pudding) made of rice flour, coconut milk and carrots. This recipe is inspired from the famous Wintery Tarts recipe by Indian MasterChef Nikita Gandhi. A bite into this creamy carrot pudding with crumbly tart makes anyone instantly happy. Pastry making is art in itself and I should admit, it is worth all the hard work and time. Try making this ambrosial goodness at home and enjoy with friends and family.
Oatmeal Shortcrust Tart Crust
Servings: 12 mini tartlets using silicon cupcake mold or 6 four inch tarts or 1 nine inch tart
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Quick Cooking Oats: 1 cup, roasted
Butter: 1/2 cup or 1 stick (cubed and chilled)
Confectioner’s Sugar: 3-4 tbsp (or powdered)
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/8 tsp
Water: 2-3 tbsp, ice cold
Egg: 1, lightly beaten (Optional, It is used to coat the crust to prevent sogging. Not necessary if serving immediately)
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF
- Roast the oats in a pan on low flame for 5 minutes until fragrant without changing color. Grind to a fine powder. This is the oatmeal flour you can use in various other recipes.
- Sieve together all the dry ingredients: flour, oats flour, salt, sugar, baking powder to eliminate any lumps and grits from oats.
- Add in the butter cubes and rub them into the flour with the tips of the finger until it resembles the breadcrumb or sand texture. This process is called shortening. (Take care to use only the finger tips otherwise the butter melts and everything becomes sticky. Also use small cubes of chilled butter rather than the whole stick)
- Add ice cold water in one tablespoon increments and bring the dough together. You should not knead the dough and work quickly so the butter does not melt. (We use ice cold water to prevent the butter from melting)
- Make two balls of the dough and wrap each with cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes at least. At this stage you can freeze the dough in ziploc bags for up to 6 months.
- Take the dough out and let rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften a bit to be rolled out. (Take care the butter does not melt)
- Roll the dough between the wax paper or cling wrap to 1-1.5 mm thickness and press into tart shell molds or silicon molds. Trim the edges neatly and cover any patches. (Alternatively, you can just take small ball of dough and press against the walls of the tart shells or molds evenly. You can even use the muffin tray)
- Dock the shells with fork to prevent from puffing. Put the tart shells in freezer for few minutes to prevent them from slumping when they hit the hot oven.
- Cover each shell with cling wrap or wax paper and pour some beans or lentils into it. This weights help them from puffing up. Bake these for 20 minutes until set and pale golden in color. This process is called blind baking.
- Take off the beans and brush the tart shells with beaten egg and bake for 5 more minutes until lightly golden brown at the edges. This step helps the tarts from sogging when we pour the custard. (If you wish not to use egg, you can bake them completely and brush with some melted butter and refrigerate until the butter sets. But take care not to pour hot custard over this)
- Let them cool down completely on the wire rack. They come off easily when you tilt them upside down.
- You can store these in airtight container for 1 week.
Carrot and Coconut Phirni (Rice Pudding)
Servings: 4 cups
2% Milk: 1 cup or 250 ml (Can use whole milk for rich taste)
Coconut Milk: 1 cup or 250 ml
Rice Flour: 1/4 cup
Jaggery: 1/4 cup or more (Any sweetener)
Carrots: 2 Large (roughly chopped)
Fresh/Frozen Coconut: 1/4 cup, shredded (Optional)
Vanilla Extract: 1/2 tsp
Green Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp
- Roughly chop the carrots and boil in water for few minutes until tender. 7-8 minutes.
- Take a heavy bottomed pan, heat milk, coconut milk and jaggery until jaggery dissolves completely.
- Make a slurry of rice flour and some milk. Add to the boiling milk and whisk continuously to avoid any lumps.
- Let the rice flour cook thoroughly on medium flame and thicken. 10 minutes
- Add in vanilla extract and cardamom powder and adjust sugar if desired. Switch off the flame.
- Make a puree of boiled carrots and fresh coconut and add to the rice custard and mix well.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling wrap touching the surface of the custard.
- Let it cool at room temperature for some time and transfer to the refrigerator to chill and thicken.
- Spread the custard on the tarts and smoothen the surface with back of the knife. Garnish with desiccated coconut flakes.
- This custard makes a nice dessert in itself. Serve them chilled in cups or dessert glasses.
- Stays fresh in refrigerator for up to 1 week
- The rice custard shown in pictures is little thin. If you follow the recipe you will get a thicker custard that you will be able to spread it on tart and it will not drip. Drippy or set, it is equally delicious.
- Pour the custard on tarts when ready to serve in 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
- You can make the tart shells and choose your desired custard as filling. Regular vanilla custard made with custard powder also works best with some cut fruits. Make sure to make the custard little thicker as shown in picture below.Or just whipped cream and fruits work well too.